Build Firmly - Kingdom Builders | Luke 6:46-49
God has called us to build. In the Old Testament, it was about Temples, Walls and Armies. In the New Testament, God now calls us to build people for His Kingdom.
Have a look at these passages:
Romans 15:2 NLT “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord”.
1 Corinthians 14:12 NIV “So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church”.
1 Corinthian 14:12 NIV “try to excel in those that build up the church”.
Jude 1:20 NLT “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith”.
As Christ’s followers, we are called to build. And leading up till Easter we are looking at four areas that we to build. We are to:
Today, we are looking at building firmly – having the right foundation. In our passage, Jesus wanted to show His followers what it's like when someone comes to Him, listens to His teaching, and then follows it (Luke 6:47). He says, “They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built” (Luke 6:48 NIV). Teaching again in language that His audience would understand, Jesus was emphasising the necessity for Christians, as they go about building into others, and building bridges where they have broken, and building churches, they build on rock as foundation. Rock is solid and firm and often withstands against the forces of nature. Jesus, we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:4, is the rock. IN fact, He is even more than just the rock. We are told in a few passages that Jesus is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). This stone was known to set the foundation and squared the building.
A few weeks ago, I looked at this passage, particularly from the point of view that we Christians ought to have as our foundation the Lordship of Jesus. As Lord, Jesus is God. He must reign in our hearts.
This morning, if I may, I want to look at this from another perspective. I believe that we can’t build into others, we can’t build bridges with those who have wronged us or are the complete opposites to us, nor can’t we build healthy churches, unless we have an understanding and an acceptance of who we are since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. If we have a warped understanding, when those storms of life do come, we will be like that person mentioned in verse 49 who didn’t build their house on foundation. Jesus said, “When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins” (Luke 6:49 NLT). Not only will our faith be washed away, but so will whatever we were building.
And so, this morning, I want to share about building within ourselves an understanding of who we are in Christ.
I say this because many struggle with esteem or respect. Self-image is such an issue. And our media and corporations are to blame. Internet, YouTube, advertisements show mostly teenagers as sex objects. And the effect that this is having on our population. Young girls are aspiring to be thin, pretty and sexy. And if “the look” doesn’t happen for them the way they like, they have poor self-esteem, which may leave to physiological diseases like bulimia. For young boys their expectation of females become polarised leading to abuse. And of course, as soon as teenagers turn 18 all these feelings disappear? No! If these emotions and views aren’t changed they are often continued into adulthood.
In essence, people with low self-esteem usually have deep-seated, basic, negative beliefs about themselves and the kind of person they are. These beliefs are often taken as facts or truths about their identity. As a result, low self-esteem can have a negative impact on a person and their life.
Low self-esteem can also have an impact on many aspects of a person’s life. It can affect a person’s performance at work or at school. They might consistently achieve less than they are able to because they believe they are less capable than others. They might avoid challenges for fear of not doing well. They might work extremely hard and push themselves to do more because they believe they need to make up for, or cover up, their lack of skill. People with low self-esteem might find it hard to believe any good results they get are due to their own abilities or positive qualities.
And so, you can see that if you are to build into others, you need to do so with a sense of strength, assurance, and understanding. Those who know that Jesus is Lord, that God is able, that the Holy Spirit empowers, and that the Word of God guides can build others up, are able to mend bridges, and build healthy churches.
Dr Bruce and Nellie Litchfield have written that often people are plagued with irrational thinking such as false beliefs and lies. To gain a healthy acceptance of oneself requires changing one’s core beliefs known as “cognitive Restructuring”. Cognitive restructuring involves aligning thinking with reality and truth. Often the issue is quite deep and will take time. The biggest obstacle is unbelief, which needs to be constantly confessed and renounced. (
Cognitive restructuring for the Christian is largely a process of renewing the mind as described in Romans 12:1-2. It is primarily a spiritual exercise where the old irrational and unbiblical thinking patterns are put off and replaced by what is rational, realistic and biblical. I think the Apostle Paul puts this so well: “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…” (Romans 12:2 NLT).
Most false beliefs can be summarized as: My self-worth is dependent on my performance and other people’s opinion of me. This has to be changed to: My self-worth comes from God’s opinion of me
Look at what the bible teaches about God’s opinion of us, you, me. In verse 10 of Ephesians Paul says, “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). Paul is saying two trues here: First we are God’s masterpiece! A masterpiece is “the most outstanding work of a creative artist or craftsman”. We are considered the most outstanding work of our Creator God.
Psalm 139 is a great passage. It was written by David. The first twelve verses speak of three amazing qualities of God. In verses 13 – 16 we read that God created us:
“You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb” (Psalms 139:13 GNB).
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalms 139:14 NIV).
“When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there” (Psalms 139:15 GNB).
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalms 139:16 NIV).
Our God created us. We didn’t evolve. We were created. To understand this amazing truth, we need to turn back to Genesis 1. Genesis 1 reveals to us our beginnings. It tells the story of God creating the universe, the earth, and humanity.
On the first day God created light that separate day and night. On the second day, God created the atmospheres - an expanse to separate the waters and the sky. On the third day, God brings dry land out of the water and caused plant life to grow on the land. On the fourth day, God placed the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky. On the fifth day, God created the fish for the waters and birds for the air. On the sixth day God starts by creating animals to live on the land. So, what was God doing these first 5½ days? He was preparing His creation for new life – for us.
We now come to the most incredible two passages. Half way into the sixth day we read: “Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).
Notice to the word used three times “image”. The idea means “resemblance” to God. When God created humans in His own image He purposed that we would resemble Him in certain ways and share certain divine prerogatives.
God created us with spiritual likeness. We were created as spiritual being capable of communicating with God.
God created us with intellectual likeness. We were created to manage the earth, animals and one another.
God created us with moral likeness. We were created with ability to know what is right and wrong.
God created us with social likeness. We were created with the ability to live in relationships with one another and God.
When God created us, he made us with dignity. Dignity means “the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect”. And the fact that we were created in God’s image ought to give us the esteem, respect and worth. This is what the bible teaches of God's opinion of us.
For some, we need to put off what is irrational and unbiblical thinking and replace by what is rational, realistic and biblical which is God created you in His image with dignity as His masterpiece.
Sometimes though you just don’t feel like you’re a masterpiece. It’s like you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and what you see looks rather scary.
The truth is, our image and dignity has been stained by our own sin and that of other’s sin. Our original masterpiece that God created has been defaced.
The good news is, Jesus has dealt with these stains and has removed them according to Ephesians 5:17. His death on the cross has removed the stain and because of this we become a new creation. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are told that we are a new creation, in Christ. And so we not only have to accept that we are created uniquely in the image of God with dignity, but we are created anew. Again, in Ephesians 2:10 Paul says, “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).
We are created anew in Christ Jesus. Because of cross of Jesus, we have a new identity. Coming to a realisation of who we really are is essential to be a builder in God’s kingdom. I love this self-realization from the Apostle Paul who wrote: “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV). And by the grace of God, I am who I am, because I Am said who I am.
Accepting who I am begins when the cycle is broken as shame, self-hatred, worthlessness are gradually displaced as we develop a deep understanding of our true Christian identity. We start to see ourselves as God has made us, rather than complaining and wishing we were someone different and comparing ourselves with others.
Christian identity, or one's identity in Christ, simply believes in God's opinion of us. And who I am is found in the pages of the Bible:
I am created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27, Ps 8:4-5).
I am loved unconditionally by God (John 3:16, Romans 5:8).
I am precious and priceless in God's sight because of redemption in Christ Jesus, purchased by his precious blood (Psalm 49:7-8, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
I am a saint of God, justified and sanctified (Romans 5:1, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Corinthians 1:2).
I am a prince/princess in God's kingdom (Psalm 113:7-8, 1 Peter 2:9).
I am a child of God and a member of his household (Ephesians 2:19).
I am adopted as one of God's eternal sons/daughters. This is the greatest of all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3-5).
I am who I am, because I Am said who I am.
Newcastle Jets is a soccer team in the National Australian League. The Jet’s winger is Joe Champness. Last season, the Jets finished bottom. This season they are in second place and last night won against number 1 Sydney FC who haven’t lost a game all season.
Before the game, Joe was asked the million-dollar question: Can you beat Sydney FC? He said they could because we have good self-belief.
Since Joe was 5, he was raised in Brisbane and developed a passion for football (soccer) in his teen years.
Joe says that his parents pointed him in the right direction since he was a youngster. While his team has enjoyed a notable surge this season on the pitch, so has Joe’s own professional football career. Back in December he was awarded the NAB rising star.
Such a huge leap into the world of professional sport comes with causes for celebration – such as the Jets’ improved performance on the pitch – and plenty of new challenges. The limelight has been thrust upon Joe, bringing with it the complications of fame, attention and sporting success. But throughout Joe’s life, he has been training for another goal that continues to shape how he responds to anything coming his way.
And this is what Joe says, “There’s always challenges in the world that we live in. There’s always going to be temptations and humans are never perfect. Sometimes our flaws and shortfalls are going to come to the forefront and it’s an everyday challenge for us to continue trying to serve God and to follow his plans”.
Raised in a Christian home by parents, Joe distinctly remembers when he gave himself to God.
Today, verses from Philippians (including 4:13 – “I can do all things in Him who gives me strength”) adorn Joe’s protective gear under his socks. Even with his leap to the A-League big time, Joe continues to strive to be led by wisdom he heard about how best to live for God in all he does. He said, “I remember when I was a little bit younger and I was looking at what I wanted to do, for a career… I heard a pastor in Brisbane. He got a word from God and he said, ‘Look, if you focus on God and continue to actively follow his ways, it’s impossible for you to fall out of God’s will. So, I think that when it comes to temptations and distractions, what I’ve tried to do is press into that word and actively follow, in order to keep staying in his will.”
I have a strong feeling that Joe knows who he is in Christ, and with that solid foundation, he is building into others, including his team.
I am who I am, because I Am said who I am.